Saturday, January 1, 2011

In the new year...

Whew...we made it, 2011.

2010 was, to say the least, eventful. We got a deployment under our belt, traveled the United States visiting all sorts of family and friends, got the diagnosis of Bella's autism, oh-- and I turned 30! Wow, the memories are so numerous, I'd like to take some of them and store them in a box to remember fondly later on in life. Other memories were so hard, I'd like to just move forward and not think of them again:) Is that bad?

Josh's experiences were so different than ours. He lived on a ship....who does that? It was a whole different world for him. He tells me it's like he had to think of home as "being on pause" while he was away to make it easier on him. That way nothing would change. It's been amazing to sit and hear him recount the stories of the lives of his sailors and the impact he had on them no doubt. I can't speak for him, but I do believe he loves the navy and his role as a Chaplain. This deployment confirmed the strong calling he felt so many years ago was divinely inspired from above. Ok, maybe it's a bit love hate. Loves what he does, hates being away from us. I know it tugs on his heart strings more than most. He's passionate. Passionate about God and passionate about us. Do I love the navy? Yes. I'm so proud of those who sacrifice their lives for our freedom. It's a HUGE sacrifice and now I fully understand that! --- oh, but it's love hate for me too!

So, in this new year the Earls are just happy to be together. Josh jumped back into his roll as husband and father with such ease it was amazing. They tell you that it can be hard to "get back into the swing of things" after deployment but not in our case. It was natural and perfect. We spent Christmas together (just us) then got to visit with family after the fact which was great!

I am taking my next Master's in Special Education class in a couple weeks. I think I have a new found passion for my program (to say the least). I am dying to do more research on autism. Right now, I am reading as many books as I can about treatment programs, special diets, and everything else there is out there for Bella. I am still totally overwhelmed with it all but I want to be as informed as I can before getting "advice" from medical professionals. It seems that everyone has different opinions about "what works" for autistic children. The fact is, they are all different so we will see what it takes to help Bella moving forward. Right now, we are working on helping her not bang her head in frustration, getting her to tell us what she wants, and her diet. Small steps towards the big picture. Her first Early Learning Intervention and Applied Behavioral Analysis appointments are this week. Can't wait!

Happy New Year all!


  1. Annie...I love keeping up with your family through your blog. Have you heard of Temple Grandin? HBO did a movie about her life...she was born in the 50's and was diagnosed with Autism. Her mother fought to keep her out of institutions and she went on to graduate college and get her master's degree and do some incredible things. I found it to be an inspiring movie, and a testament to the value of having family willing to fight for their children against all odds. I want you to know how encouraging it has been for me to read what you've written about the journey this past year has been for you. I have no doubt that you will minister to many people through your experiences with Bella. I pray God gives you the strength and courage to be faithful and to offer praise during both the good and the bad times. Don't stop sharing! Your words are a blessing.

  2. Not only is he the most perfect dresser, right down to the perfect creases in his pants and that AMAZING COAT, but the they say the eyes are the windows to our souls. His eyes just light up when he smiles!!!! He must be a wonderful Chaplain, father and husband! Because he definitely looks as though he walks in Gods light....... Bless you all!